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Evening Standard: Walcott on City radar

After several days Real Madrid musings, our media round-up returns its focus to the more traditional summary of the transfer merry go-round.

Today City are linked with an England international, but such is the allure of the Champions League semi-final there’s a sprinkling of Real reports ahead of the Santiago Bernabeu showdown.

We’ll start with said international and the Evening Standard suggest the growing speculation surrounding Theo Walcott’s future has planted the forward firmly on the Blues’ radar.

James Olley writes: “Incoming manager Pep Guardiola is a keen admirer of the 27-year-old and Standard Sport understands he has asked City to monitor Walcott’s situation closely as he faces a crossroads in his career.

“City would not find his £140,000-a-week wage prohibitive and are keen to bolster the number of English players in the squad as they attempt to meet Uefa regulations regarding homegrown talent.

“Gunners midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also under consideration for this reason although it is understood that Guardiola has been a fan of Walcott’s for much longer, dating back to his blistering game-changing appearance for Arsenal against the Spaniard’s Barcelona side in 2010.”

Reports of a departure next and a reunion with former boss Roberto Mancini is on the cards for Yaya Toure, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Media reports have long suggested the Ivorian has a host of potential suitors and James Dixon believes Mancini is expecting a battle for his former players’ signature.

“Yaya Toure is still on Inter Milan's radar but Nerazzurri boss Roberto Mancini admits that signing the Ivorian 'won't be easy'.

“The 32-year-old is thought to favour a Premier League switch, but Inter are long-term admirers of the midfielder and former City manager Mancini still holds out some hope that he can land the player.”

In the immediate future Toure is central to the pre-match plot ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Madrid. Injury kept him out of the first leg and the Daily Star believe that the midfielder could miss out again.

Jeremy Cross reports: “It is understood boss Manuel Pellegrini will leave Toure on the bench even if he does prove his fitness in time.

“Pellegrini has been impressed with the recent form of Brazilian duo Fernando and Fernandinho and is expected to keep faith with them instead as City look to reach the final for the first time in their history.”

The return fixture sees the Blues return to the Spanish capital for the first time since a 3-2 defeat in 2012, but Joe is hoping the outcome will be difference this time around..

The shot-stopper told The Mirror: ““We’ve learned a lot since that night. It was a tough game. It was certainly a busy one for me, especially.

“This year we’ve been a lot more confident away and we’ve made a solid start to the tie to set up the second leg on Wednesday.”

Of course, a trip to Southampton beckons before that and to complete today's round-up ESPN’s Simon Curtis has some advice for Manuel Pellegrini on the importance of squad rotation.

He writes: “With the slightly frightening prospect of Cristiano Ronaldo returning for the second leg, Pellegrini will do well to shelter his chosen centre-backs for Madrid from further punishment at St Mary's on Sunday.

“In midfield, expect either Fernando or Fernandinho, both of whom must cover huge amounts of ground in their defensive duties, to be rested.”

We’ll hear from the Manager himself at his press conference later today and for more paper talk, tune in tomorrow!

Men's Team

The rise and rise of Kelechi Iheanacho

It’s hard to recall a similarly meteoric rise in recent club history…

364 days after scoring in the 2015 FA Youth Cup final for City u18s, Kelechi Iheanacho took to the field for Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid.

Men's Team

Golden Boot: Aguero closing in on Kane

HOT SHOT: Kun just one behind Kane

Sergio Aguero has Harry Kane in his sights…

Overlooked by his peers for PFA recognition, it’ll be up to Fraser Forster, Petr Cech and Lukasz Fabianski to stop Kun from landing this individual award for the second year in a row.

Men's Team

Golden Gloves: Will Hart win fifth title?

HART-STOPPER: Five in six years?

Three games to go and City’s no.1 is close to extending his incredible individual record.

Joe Hart has won the Golden Gloves award on more occasions than any other goalkeeper in Premier League history.